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Damascus Gate Paperback – 8 Oct 1999
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Top customer reviews
Fortunately, Stone keeps the fantasy grounded in a wonderfully atmospheric Jerusalem, coupled with the extraordinary (but very real) "Jerusalem Syndrome" of religious fanatics.
My only complaint is that Stone occasionally gets so wrapped up in his characters that the plot goes slack, and perhaps the book could have been trimmed a bit in the editing.
Few people in this book speak like normal people, and everyone seems to be involved in some secretive group, cabal, or plot. That said, the thriller aspect of the book is a total disappointment, by the end it's hard to really care what happens. Indeed the best moments of tension come 200 pages earlier in a refugee camp on the Gaza Strip. Stone spends much more time on faith than he does actually creating any kind of interesting story, and that's where the book was a real bore for me. Much of the plot revolves around the semi-organized groups of religious weirdoes who are drawn to Jerusalem for obvious reasons. As an agnositc, it was very take any of the book's endless universalist, cabalistic, speechifing seriously. So many of the characters seem to be exceedingly childishly grasping and unthinking in their quest for spiritual enlightenment, that one is hard-pressed to care about them at all. And the central character's wrestling with his half-Jewishness is pretty stale stuff. His love affair with a jazz singer is telegraphed from miles away, proceeds enigmatically, and ends predictably. Why even bother? Indeed, much of the book seems to wander about to no purpose. Stone does provide detailed visual descriptions of people and places, but they never come alive, much like the book itself.